Warren is New Progressive Leader

Two years into her Senate term, Senator Elizabeth Warren, in the opinion of many observers, has clearly emerged as the progressive leader in Congress. Jessica Meyers, in an article in The Boston Globe said that Warren’s future battles could involve not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats on the side against her. Meyers quoted Isaac Boltansky, a former Warren aide, as saying:” Elizabeth Warren is going to draw the line in the sand, and moderate Democrats are going to have to decide which side they want to be on.” Although Warren has denied any interest in becoming a Presidential candidate, the “draft Warren” movement is likely to enhance her Congressional role.

Probably of most immediate interest to Warren is the defense of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act, but she has taken on- and defeated- the White House over the nomination of Antonio Weiss to a senior Treasury post and has led the fight against the spending bill because of a clause supposed to have been inserted by Citigroup lobbyists. Warren, however, has gone beyond the bare bones of those particular issues and has drawn conclusions that have to be deeply troubling to the President. The Weiss nomination, she pointed out, was an example of the revolving door between Wall Street and government economic positions. In a fiery speech on the Senate floor, she denounced the Citigroup influence in the last two Democratic administrations and called for breaking up large banks such as Citigroup.

Warren has lately gone beyond specific Congressional controversies and has spoken out on general progressive issues. In the keynote speech last week at the AFL-CIO Raising Wages Summit, she attacked ” trickle down economics” and discussed wages, employment and labor organizing (available at raisingwagessummit.org). She is becoming a focal point for progressive organizing and is using her position in the Senate as a bully pulpit for the issues and policies in which she believes (yes, the White House is supposed to be the bully pulpit but…).

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